Top end commercial sales market remains strong in ACT: HTW

Top end commercial sales market remains strong in ACT: HTW
Top end commercial sales market remains strong in ACT: HTW

The commercial office market in the ACT remains in a state of flux with different messages being transmitted from government, says valuation firm Herron Todd White.

"Overall the commercial sales market remains strong at the top end with four significant sales occurring in the city and others in the wind", says the HTW report.

"The sales include two Mirvac holdings, remnants of the former Capital Property Trust.

"A property at 54 Marcus Clarke Street sold for $14.2 million with a WALE of circa two years and a yield of 9.7%.

"It is understood the purchaser, Centura Metro, has an open mind relating to this property with a residential conversion a possibility," says the report.

The report adds that Centura Metro also purchased 60 Marcus Clarke Street for $49.6 million with a similar WALE and a yield of 8.7%.

"We understand their intent is to retain this property as a commercial holding with some consideration to erecting additional space over the car park", says the HTW report.

"The property at 64 Allara Street sold for $16.8 million on a yield of 7.6% and a WALE of 4.6%.

"The purchaser was the Cromwell Property Group who we suspect was attracted by the yield."

The month in review says the political environment appears to have stabilised with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister however concern remains about the size of government and the accommodation strategy being adopted.

"The aborted tender for accommodation to house the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is a recent example.

"The tender cost participants substantial time and capital only to see the tender aborted and that time and money wasted.

"The decision came about due to local agitation from traders in Belconnen, the home of Immigration, when there was a real possibility that the combined department would move."

The HTW report also notes that it was decided that in the future all moves of the size proposed must also include a social impact statement.

"The result is that the overall vacancy of office accommodation remains high in the ACT and includes substantial space adjacent to the airport.

"Whether this tender will re- emerge is not known."

The report suggests that there are a number of properties in the CBD with leases to departments with less than two years remaining and the market watches retention outcomes with interest – will the tenant remain?

"Will the tenant be encouraged to move to premises held by government under long term leases which are not occupied in part or whole?

"The jury is out, however the lease over 10 - 12 Mort Street has been extended by a further eight years, expiring in 2017, giving security to both parties.

The report concludes by suggesting the sales mentioned above indicates a willingness to secure premises in Canberra even where the WALE is substantially reduced, provided the price is right. 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

Canberra Commercial Market

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